These are linked poems created week by week for a year, inspired by the book No Choice But To Follow, and the poets therein who did it first.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

December #4

You Should So Ask For Help ...

You should so ask for help
that a wind will rise from the stones
and swirl around you, buoyant:
a soft cloak, a raft of air,
a sweet in-rush of breath.

You should so ask for help
that rain will fall gently, washing
all debris away from your path,
so you walk forth unobstructed
raising your face to be bathed.

You should so ask for help
that the grasses will ripple before you
like waves of an earth ocean,
as they flatten to ease your steps
and spring back straight behind.

You should so ask for help
that the sun and all the stars
brighten and flare at your call,
and people around you suddenly smile 
as you yourself are warmed.

First you must ask for help
to ask in such a way — must ask
for the long slow gifts 
of trust and patience,
humility, strength, integrity.

Or find the quicker way:
pray to be an instrument
of Love, Peace and Truth. 
Create with these a vision so large 
that all you are and do is in its service.

Whether you sleep or wake,
speak or be silent, scratch an itch,
make love, argue, go shopping ...
the vision is more than you; it holds you,
contains and fills you — that one!

Be prepared for your vision to take
if need be, lifetimes, and leagues of angels.
Seek to enrol the whole world
on to your team. Ask for help....
Take heart. You should so ask.

— Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Thursday, 25 December 2014

December #3

Ask for Help!!
A song for those struggling with the concept of equality

(Tthe tune of I Can Help - by Billy Swan)

If you don't know what to do
if you don't know what to say
if the main thought in your head is 'please make it go away'
ask for help
there'll be someone who can change things
ask for help
It would do you good
to do the things you should
so ask for help.
 
If everything you're doing
seems to turn out wrong
try taking some deep breaths and remembering this song
and ask for help
there'll be someone who can fix things
ask for help
You don't know it all
nobody ever could
so ask for help
 
When you go to bed at night you want to be able to sleep
Treating people properly is something that will always keep
your conscience clear...
 
So instead of trying to hide that you don't know what to do
Instead of fooling yourself that you can muddle through
ask for help
from the people who know best
ask for help
be better than the rest
It would do the world good
if you do the things you should
so ask for help.
 
Michele Brenton 25th December 2014
Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

December #2

That's Enough Tough

When you break into tears
at Denpasar Airport,
because the pain in your ear
is an octopus-invasion of throb,
you have crossed the line.
Men stare, assessing.
Women don't cry, not here,
not ever.
One man tries to steal your backpack,
for you have given permission
by being vulnerable.
The official you ask for help
wishes to put you out of sight,
for adults don't cry,
and you must expect this sort of thing
as a strong woman travelling.
The airport medical staff
tell you to stop,
because it's not that bad.
No hospital for you.
Get on the plane.
You will be fine.
In the privacy of the aeroplane toilet,
you sag,
and flush away all tags attached to you.
With what's left, you cry again,
afraid and alone.
The toughest act of all
is to say “I hurt",
and it's a badge of courage
to ask for help.

— Helen Patrice


Thursday, 11 December 2014

December #1

e.g this is enough

Apt.
Beautifully put.
Concise, convex.
Drama dominates.
Everything expires.
Futures fizzle.
Grandiose, giggly, grunting.
Heavy-handed.
Interesting.
Just judicial.
Kitchenware.
Lampooning, lightness, & lexicon.
Magic.
Never? Not now?
Obtuse, obviously.
Patience!  Purity! Passion! Performance?
Quietly querulous.
Rubbish! (Roundly)
Sensible, sound and snappy.
Terrorism.
Uprisings, unguents.
Visual & Vital Verbs.
When?
Xasperating …
You?
Zithering …

That is enough.
Tough.


— Jennie Fraine

Friday, 28 November 2014

November #4

Old Lady with Cat

While my body snores
at last, on these humid nights,
he, my black-haired darling,
prowls the cool outdoors.

Mornings he's nearly always
back, sharing my bed,
accepting an embrace
before requiring breakfast.

If I wake up still alone,
by the time I open the door
he's running up the front steps
calling a greeting.

We remember the others
who were here, whom we loved,
but now they are ghosts, and this
is the end time (may it be long)

when we, being finally only two,
are all-in-all to each other.
In age we learn the true things
e.g. this is important, e.g. this is enough.

— Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Sunday, 23 November 2014

November #3

To sleep: perchance to dream…

I never know what to expect
each night I go to bed
the ravelled sleeve of care stays ravelled,
tattered and in shreds.
In fact the action packed
into the theatre of my dreams
frays the fabric of my mind
and soundtracks it with screams.

I've swooped and soared above the clouds
and plummeted to earth,
borne immolation many times
relived countless births
from the point of view of mother
and from that of child,
I've even mothered fox cubs
then released them in the wild.

I've wondered where my husband is
while marrying another,
had long chats with dead relatives
rowed furiously with Mother;
grieved for people still alive
partied with the feted,
was once hailed saviour of the world
and unanimously hated.

The only common factor is
my dreams are never bores;
I'm continuously fascinated
while my body snores.

— Michele Brenton

Friday, 14 November 2014

November #2

The World They've Created Comes To A Full Stop

The day my daughter saw
that I did not know what might live
inside a basketball,
and my impatient reply
of 'I don't know, maybe fairies'
sealed my fate.
I was no longer her goddess,
and she turned to the outside world
to see who might ascend the throne.
Friends' mothers, her grandmother, teachers
all failing that steep set of steps
sooner or later,
so Britney Spears and the Spice Girls
adorned her bedroom walls,
and she chanted nightly:
'Oops, I did it again'
while my bath water reverberated in time
to their backbeat songs.
I was never again offered the pedestal,
or the sceptre,
but deity light shone upon me briefly,
when she had her first baby,
and I was the only one
who could rock him to sleep.

— Helen Patrice


Saturday, 8 November 2014

November #1

Or Any Other Kind Of Pen: a Romance

One word lingers over a blank page
ephemeral, almost transparent, fading
as it wafts away uncaptured.

A second word strays in its wake
vanishes beyond thought, distracted
by a fascination.

There is a mild stir. 
A sentence appears.
For how long? And what was the crime? 
Dragging itself out into the open,
dangling voice and story in front of a jury?
Off the page with you!
Don’t even think of it!
Out!

But: mightier than the sword, a pen 
strides into view, leaps to hand, brandishes
ballpoint, strikes a blow for freedom and
in one frenzied dash crashes across paper
leaving a stream of consciousness
full of mixed metaphors
and darlings needing
to be murdered.

Words tremble as the world they’ve created
comes to a full stop.

— Jennie Fraine

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

October #4

Diagrams in Felt-Tipped Pen

Or in pencil. Or biro.
Sometimes even fountain-pen —
we used them then, and my parents
gave me a slim one for my twelfth birthday.
The felt tips, of course, came quite a lot later.

But I never lost the habit,
starting in school exercise books.
'You're a great old doodler, aren't you?'
one English teacher said — but tolerantly.
I was always top of the class in English, after all.

It was an aid to thinking.
Don't ask me how that could be;
I only know it worked for me. Between
taking notes, I filled the corners of the pages
with close, elaborate, complex, abstract shapes.

Nothing recognisable —
not at all realist, nor naturalist.
It was all geometric: endless variations
of triangles, rectangles, diamonds, squares,
tempered by circles and coils, arcs and undulations.

After creating the outline
I might then decide on sections
to fill in solid, painstakingly making
new patterns in the old traditional shapes.
Each pattern piece was tiny; the whole, intricate.

When Rorschach tests became
the latest whizz-bang thing, back in
the seventies, some of my (ahem!) friends
wondered aloud what my doodles might reveal
and made rude, amused speculations, with guffaws.

By then, I was doodling upon
telephone message pads, train tickets,
restaurant menus, as well as my own journals
and the edges of any letters I still wrote by hand —
the ones to elderly relatives, who still thought that polite.

Those who knew me well
came to accept this eccentricity.
They seldom even remarked on it any more.
I decided it had to do with the pattern-making urge
and therefore, I supposed, not inappropriate for a poet.

Then the whole world changed.
Now I write emails on computer, make poems
on my iPad, jot down the shopping lists on my phone.
We text each other details we need to remember. No place
for proliferating diagrams in felt-tipped or any other kind of pen.

— Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

October #3

To My Mitochondria

I remember painstaking lines and
careful colouring-in 
punctuated by leaning back
in blissful satisfaction to 
admire the result.
I learned their biochemistry
and their physiology
gazed at slides
from microtomes.
I once knew such a lot of things
and now that knowledge
is long gone.
All I can recall from then - 
diagrams in felt-tipped pen.

Michele Brenton

Monday, 13 October 2014

October #2

The Past Tells Me I Exist

Those genes I sowed years ago
on hard ground
raised dragons of fire and water
who roar at the world
in ways I never could.
They spliced themselves,
and now here come the results,
helixing down the hallway
to scramble onto my morning bed
and feed me cold toast.
They shiver like cells around me
with toy trucks and jam,
insisting on under-the-blanket tents.
Meditation detaches me from the world,
and these two hot, moist little junior dracos
bring me back to it.
They make me live hard
right down to my mitochondria.

— Helen Patrice

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

October #1

Memories to Gather Later

As if the Past truly exists.
For Auld Lang Syne.
What’s done and said
Arms. Linked. Singing.

The songs of sirens.
Long fruitless journeys.
Shipwrecks. Survivals.
On the rocks. Let’s drink!

To that, and take a break.
There’s no tomorrow
Literally. The future?
Also non-existent.

Trapped here, now.
What? This moment?
This? And this? This
Endlessness of Now?

No! Conjure: artful enemies.
Betrayals. Caesarean.
Lies and tragedies.
My own one-Act plays.

Banish meaninglessness.
Watch commercial TV.
Old episodes and new ads.
All images spark memory.

Spirit of Tasmania.
Access to adventure.
State of beauty. Remember.
Sick trips with two kids.

Retirement. Caravan. Sunset.
Son’s birthday lego pirate ship.
A plank across the towbar.
Blindfolded, walking forward.

Gather friends who teach.
Encourage my reaching.
Voices entertain. Enrich.
Only the Past tells me

“I” exist.

— Jennie Fraine

Sunday, 28 September 2014

September #4

They Try Again

They try again
to recollect the flavour
of what was,
hunting through trophies
only they can find:
the personal phrases,
the unimportant
yet cherished habits —

but it's thundery cold outside
and they who hide within
are only two now,
who must make new tales
to warm themselves, other
memories to gather later.

— Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Friday, 19 September 2014

September #3


Harder the second time around

I never thought I'd be excited
to see a divorce
or encourage one so gleefully
and enjoy each severance
witnessed in pixel-dancing
light.
Something rises in me, a tidal wave
wanting more and more
until the old is swept away
and change becomes the new
landscape.
I used to shout at the television
when I was young and watching films:
Walk away or sneak away at night
when they are asleep. Get away while you can!
Too many celluloid sacrifices,
too many individuals subsumed
for the sake of the storyline.
This is real life and the stories
can be better or worse.
I sit through this night
on the edge of my seat.
Please let this be the happy beginning,
the day when it didn't take
death to us part.
Because if there isn't a clean getaway
we all know what happens
when they try again.

— Michele Brenton 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

September #2

Create Speak Surrender

Create the space
in the heart
for an incoming love.
Speak the words
that cement it all
in a small diamond ring.
Surrender to the machine
that is wedding and family
and the dress, above all.

Create the space
in the body
for an embryo.
Speak the idea
into silence
and mother's disapproval.
Surrender to the machine
that is pregnancy, baby,
and the pedestal of  motherhood.

Create the space
in the marriage
for two babies, and a breakdown.
Speak the words
that all is ill, broken,
the truth of neglect.
Surrender to the machine
that is divorce, aloneness,
and a sheaf of bills.

Twenty years later,
and the hard work,
the break, the regrowth
is done.
Creation is poetry.
Speaking is unnecessary.
Surrendering is time with grandchildren.
Making love is both easier
and harder,
the second time around.

— Helen Patrice

Sunday, 7 September 2014

September #1

All That Terror (grin) Provides the Thrill

And the worst of it
is standing there
knowing you all need to know
that I know you, care.

Larynx glued, immobilised,
breath choking off the apt word—
words big enough to leap
the chasm between us

have tumbled, their syllables
echoing long after
we break eye contact.
This is La Grande Peur

more masterful than Death,
binding lips, sealing off
all possibility of love
for all fifty of you, myself.

This paralysis cannot be
permanent. I must lose
my self now, take that step:
create, speak, surrender.

— Jennie Fraine

Saturday, 30 August 2014

August #4

It Only Needs to Win Once — You Think? 

Courage, you think,
only needs to win once.
After that you can relax,
never fear again,
be always brave and daring,
confident like others —
the everyone else
who, you're always being told,
aren't scared.

But it doesn't work like that.
Courage is needy, wanting 
your full attention,
refusing to be taken for granted.
It wants to own you;
catching you with your pants down,
wants to give you a thrill — the biggest.
Courage is a very
demanding lover.

Or else it's a wilful child
that runs away.
You have to chase after it,
find it, bring it home,
settle it — embrace it
all over again.
Every time.
Too bad if you tire 
of the game.

You think you only need
to win once,
but it's not enough.
Each time is new —
new effort, journey, struggle, 
catch of breath.
But then, it's all that terror
(grin) 
provides the thrill.

— Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Sunday, 24 August 2014

August #3

Living through the pain

My compatriot urged his dad
to rage against the dying of the light
but my rage is against pain
and blood and tears and sweat
and hope getting stomped
when it peeps its little
chocolate-buttony bright eyes
over the top of the trench
where it very wisely hid
until optimism once more
triumphed over experience.

I watch you living through the pain
and I try to find something positive
in your brave, dogged fight
and I love you for your strength,
your weakness, your quirks,
your failings, your heart
but I cannot find anything positive
that wasn't already a part of you
before the adversary arrived
and this torment began.

I want to scoop you up
in my arms and hold you
until the danger passes
but you see it never does.
That bloody enemy stalks
us all the time and never sleeps
and even if I doze with one eye
open it still sneaks in because
nobody can win against it every time
and it only needs to win once.

— Michele Brenton

Friday, 15 August 2014

August #2

Firm Body Upright

for Amanda Watson and Dani Dmd Umbra Graczyk  * 

She pounds her gravity-bound knees,
with hands still free.
Her wheelchair, black and silver,
gleams silver solid in the stage light.
Rising behind her, dark dancer,
jerking the movements she cannot express.
Dancer sinews hip lift to shoulder roll,
as the music clanks on.
"My body is a cage".
She is veiled in black,
legs seen and still,
face hidden.
The dancer does all
the woman cannot:
not enough for either
to have only six minutes
of shining to others.
Upright in her chair,
as the dancer leaves the stage.
Her body is firm,
her resolve is to keep living
through the pain.


— Helen Patrice

Sunday, 10 August 2014

August #1

Knowing it is right

makes it
legitimate
if it fits
wear it

also sets
you up
for a fight

some call that
civilised debate

the thing is
it pulls you
off centre

you have to
grab hold
to regain
balance

anything
will do as
long as
you get

through,
both feet
firm, body
up right

— Jennie Fraine


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

July #4

Easy, Do What's Right
A Dedication

I walk in procession
by candlelight, 
cloaked in white 
for my pure intention. 

We form a circle. 
I make affirmation
claiming myself as Goddess,
Daughter of the Divine.

The two women presiding
gently remove the white, 
enfold me
in my own rich magenta.

Earlier, my magenta cloak
lay stretched across the altar
between the candelabra
and the ceremonial sword.

Alone in the temple
I, who in my long life
bent the knee to none,
was moved to kneel to the Goddess.

Private vows; public avowal.
Afterwards all the women dance,
and I with them,
in our cloaks of light.

I am wrapped
in the peace of the Goddess,
embraced by the warmth
of my sisters.

I walk forward
into this new, late stage of life
and find it easy,
knowing it is right.

— Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

July #3

Activation

Like a pill
grim and white
I must take,
good for me,
so they say,
take the nasty
dreams away!

I swallow
so much dreck
from high-ups
smiling wide
wearing suits
planting seeds
poison fruits.

Then WAKE UP!
Smell the beans
recognise
what it means
to be snowed
be kowtowed
be reduced,
zeroed, cowed.

Stand up, stretch
look around
take it in
what is there,
not the show
see what’s wrong
make it fair.

Spit the pill
grim and white
stuff what’s easy
do what’s right.

— Michele Brenton

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

July #2

To Leave, To Love, To Make

To Leave

The heat leeches from my dry skin
as soon as I abandon the hearthside.
The house sleeps behind me,
and in my seven layers I go
into winter's night under new Moon.
Seven shades past black to true dark.
With finger whitened to bone, I cast circle,
shivering inside.
The earth plane drops away.
I am between the worlds.

To Love

To love the world so much
that magic must be done
close to equinox
when the Moon is yet to swell
with possibility,
and the world teeters between death and life.
To love the world enough
to hold seven veils of chiffon
and have them fall, one, two, three,
through the chant
for the dropping of illusion,
the truth to be revealed,
for honesty and love to show through.
Seven veils for the seven gates
of Innanna.
To love the world so much
that corruption is willed away
and lies in government
grow thin as chiffon.
A chant, a mantra for each veil,
a gateway into light.

To Make

In the last minutes of the new Moon,
before She begins to birth herself,
with the power of seven elements - 
air, water, fire, earth, metal, spirit, mind - 
I feel in my cupped hands
the thought form of how the world could be,
and it sings one united clean song.
I feed in energy, through the top of my head,
down my body, out my hands,
strengthening, enlarging the vision.
I let it go to embrace the world.


The spell is done.
Circle is open, unbroken.
The hearth welcomes me like a pilgrim.

— Helen Patrice

Monday, 7 July 2014

July #1

Does this mean I’m ready to wake?

Was there an earthquake?
A tremor, even?
A slight jolt?

Is my body in revolt?
Will this darkness last forever?
Oh, get a cup of tea, give me a break!

Relaxation music – imagine a lake:
its beauty, not the depths,
keep breathing!

Ah, stillness,
empty mind, not mind-full,
call upon the Dreamtime, the snake.

How many planetary rotations will it take?
Revolutions? Rebellions?
Interrupted sleeps?

Laughters and weeps?
At least I know I’m alive, tossing.
Until the bed becomes something

to leave, to love, to make.

— Jennie Fraine

Saturday, 28 June 2014

June #4

Round and Round and Round and Round …

And round we go again,
spinning again on this pretty planet

as if the intricate dance 
were forever, its patterns important.

The moment seems to matter.
My cats are old and sick, my man is dead.

Tell me that’s not important.
Important to me — but not to some stranger

across the world, not to
animals in zoos or jungles, not at all

to insects living their little lives
and not to the stars in space, nor the space.

My friend is sad for her old mother
finally dead in her nineties: wondering, “Did I do 

enough?” (She did. I was witness.)
All these small human dramas we all repeat,

caught in the cycle. As if brand new
as we each meet each one as if for the first time.

Yet when we sink to restful emptiness,
how well we know that music, that old refrain.

It wells up to remind us, nothing 
is new, nothing is really unknown, nothing 

is individual. We spin our lives
again and again on our spinning planet.

Round and round and round and round 
we go again — caught in the spin, dreaming 

our little dramas as if they were real, 
as if we were here, as if we were now, as if….

(Lately I dream that I dream.
Does this mean I’m ready to wake?)

— Rosemary Nissen-Wade

("Round and round and round and round we go again" — I'm not plagiarising, just alluding!)

Sunday, 22 June 2014

June #3

Feedback Loop

The greatest mystery
is mysterious
and great.
In fact not just great
it is the GREATEST
and all the not-so-great mysteries
weep into cushions
while chowing down on an entire tub of
the most fattening ice cream
to quell their sense of inadequacy.

And the most fattening ice cream
which is creamy and icy
and fattening
is not just fattening
it is the MOST fattening
and for some reason also
the MOST delicious and moreish
and the MOST bad for you
which is often the way for food.
Why when we know this do we still…?

It is the greatest mystery.
It is mysterious
and great.
In fact not just great
it is the GREATEST

and round we go again…

— Michele Brenton

Sunday, 15 June 2014

June #2

Falling Headlong: Autism

the years of curious reading
for pleasure and titillation;
to thank the gods it's nothing
to do with me,
this withdrawing from the world,
this other place within a person
that translates into rocking and spinning,
alien shrieks in the night – 
they were comforting
because I was safe.

the one word spoken
by Someone Who Knew
confirmed my every secret fear
and we were tossed down
a specific measured rabbithole
to the desolate dune landscape
of broken grey quarries
and old entombed cities.
the one-way gate
to the greatest mystery.

— Helen Patrice

Saturday, 7 June 2014

June #1

Muscle and Bone Subside

Here. Let me help you.
I struggle to lift the chair.
We move side table too.
Now you can swing
where once you would swivel.
Now it’s only your eyes turning
to watch the birds, the seasons
the garden tossing or still
its feet unmoving. You miss
the dancing.

You sink and settle. The chair
cuddles you; its many cushions
enclose muscle and bone.

Desire, too, subsides.
And faith in a better future.
There are many you scorn
who sink to a lower level –
The men. The budget makers.
The wealthy liars and cheats.
Whilst you might have become
less active, I wouldn’t call
your disgust with the TV news
less violent, your heart quiet.

In fact, despite the chair’s
security, I see you believe
we are all cast down, falling
headlong.

— Jennie Fraine

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

May #4

Suits Her Just Fine

Pleasure is now
a mug of cocoa, 
an Anzac biscuit
and a fine book to read.

Well, it always was —
but she remembers too
shopping at night in Khatmandu,
or meeting that shaman in Cusco.

She remembers lovers, 
their beautiful faces
and questing minds,
including the three she married.

And oh, she remembers loss,
hands that she held
as their owners died ...
the emptiness of dead bodies.

Now her elderly cat
comes every night
to lie beside her
on the wide bed.

The bed is warm.
The cat purrs.
Pain in muscle and bone
subsides.

— Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Thursday, 22 May 2014

May #3

Moonlight becomes her

The worst of alien overlords
twirls her moustache
and smiles lopsidedly.
It took many years to
perfect that smile,
without it no archenemy could ever
hold their head high.
The moustache arrived with no effort at all
the only tricky part was
deciding to embrace it rather
than depilate. There are more
satisfying targets in life
and snide looks make it easier
when culling is required.
Whatever set her on this path to begin with,
she is happy now at the top of the tower,
finger on the button, deciding the game.
Heroines are for fairy tales and stories,
nothing to do with real life
and that suits her just fine.

— Michele Brenton

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

May #2

Furnace of the Sun

His scream blasts off
from the front garden launch pad,
as sudden as 'Challenger'.
It rises through the atmosphere,
busting its burners against gravity,
to break free of Earth's embrace,
and head for the furnace of the  Sun,
where its heat belongs.
The outrage of not being allowed
to run on the road
in brand new winter shoes
that clomp like an astronaut's boots!
His eyes glitter with tears as bright as stars,
as Granny turns from best friend
to the worst of alien overlords.

— Helen Patrice

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

May #1

When we go deep

I will change we to they.
Let the young and agile
do that caving thing
squeezing through
narrow clumps of rock
interring themselves in
the dark recesses
of my imagination.
I just have to shudder.

Then there are the divers.
At first writhing like fish,
later holding a spear
ahead of the face while
beginning to morph
into shark and octopus.
Heavier, dropping into
denser currents, hot water.
I take quick deep breaths.

There’s just too many depths
available on this planet.
You have to be truly committed
to plumb them, feel the fear,
act anyway, free-falling, sinking.
There is so much other pleasure
in skimming surfaces, dancing
like a dragonfly between
leaves, over river water.

Is my aversion past-driven?
Too many storms at sea,
midnight runs at gunpoint,
surgery, anaesthetised?
Luckily, memory is like
a skating rink: such grace
on thick ice! strung between
that frozen surface and
the furnace of the sun.

— Jennie Fraine

Monday, 28 April 2014

April #4

Lifting the Lid

The things we find when we go deep
can be mysterious, like dreams.
Descending the abyss of sleep,
we find not all is what it seems.

For dreams use symbols, and distort
the things we find when we go deep.
Decoding leaves us overwrought,
unsure if we should laugh or weep.

Yet, if we take a wakeful peep
below the lid of consciousness,
the things we find when we go deep
may still be anybody's guess.

Myself, I'd rather meditate 
(the path of therapy being too steep)
and in that peace to contemplate
the joy I find when things go deep.

— Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Monday, 21 April 2014

April #3

Edgy

Toast crusts, pork scratchings,
burnt bits of meat,
borders of gardens
bushes trimmed neat
beaches and cliff tops
where nesting birds wedge
some of these things can be found on the edge.

Lace on lingerie, good for a thrill,
spun sugar topping Chantilly cream hills,
butterfly stroke for surface swimming,
makeup and fake tans on plastic-faced women,
suited blokes smiling with hard cold eyes
coral reefs dying where golden sands lie.

For things of importance
the things we should keep,
those are the things we find when we go deep.

— Michele Brenton


Monday, 14 April 2014

April #2

Landscape for Clues

after reading Marge Piercy's 'The Cat's Song'

The cat will not speak her troubles,
but hides with them in the back yard ferns,
her eyes suddenly duller than autumn leaves.
Her white chest fur is dirty.
Her backbone is a line of mountains,
sharp as the Andes.
The cat does not speak her illness.
Her instinct is to shelter and die.
Her body is a landscape
to be felt for clues.
Medicine drags her back to life,
too slow, much too slow.
The cat sits on the bed,
close to the edge.

— Helen Patrice

Monday, 7 April 2014

April #1

“that oaf who tried to hit on me”


Dredging memory
for oafs
looking for louts
who chose me
as victim
wondering
who hit on whom:
Was it I
with my lust
for impregnation?
Or they, addicted
to seek-and-destroy tactics?

My daughter
could probably invent
a few pithy stories
on Facebook
but I
can only stare
out the train’s window
hoping for reflection
searching instead
a flat dry developed
landscape
for clues.

— Jennie Fraine


Friday, 28 March 2014

March #4

The Point is the Light

We walk from the temple
after the feast,
down the hill to the car.

Navigating uneven ground, 
I catch a glint between stones: 
black sheen,
and a blue-green inky sliver.

A peacock's chest feather?
The splinter of colour
along its spine
flashes iridescent 
against the surrounding dark.

I turn it this way and that
between finger and thumb —
such a tiny thing —
watching the brightness 
move and spread.

My friend finds another,
rainbow stripes fanning
wide across the tip.
"They're both yours," she insists.

(Earlier, over dinner,
she helped fend off 
that oaf who tried to hit on me.)

— Rosemary Nissen-Wade